Terry Gilliam is best known for writing and directing a series of famous classics with cult tracks, including Brazil . Time Bandits Twelve Monkeys Fear and Terror in Las Vegas and perhaps its most popular film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail that was also his feature debut. One project that he was never able to launch ̵
After numerous transcriptions and multiple cast Gilliam was able to complete his film after a few launches and stops, although in the end he became something different from what he had originally thought. In the Present Time The man who killed Don Quixote follows a commercial director (Adam Driver) who returns to the small Spanish village where he turned a student film version of Don Quixote , , There, he not only discovers that his production has left several lives in ruins, but also that the modest native shoemaker (longtime friend and collaborator Jonathan Pryce), who played his Don Quixote, has inherited the person in real life. The new movie opens on April 10th for a one-night fathom event in theaters. Prior to the release, Gilliam talked with RT about the movie's long, tedious journey and gave us its Five Favorite Films … plus an addition. Continue reading for the full interview.
Let's go to Pinocchio Disney's Pinocchio . That was a really magical movie. The world was so beautifully detailed and so fantastic, yet believable at every point. I love this movie. It really stayed with me because it was at an incredibly high level of craftsmanship and has kept that position in my head for all these years. Great songs, all great. Great characters. I do not know what else to say. It's just a great story.
I think the first movie I saw was probably Snow White . That's the advantage of being old. You get these movies when you are the right age. But just these two have really held on to me, because I had simply seen nothing better. The great thing, it has made me a big fan. It took me years to discover that Cliff Edwards was the voice of Jiminy Cricket. I've always loved "If you want a star," and he sang that. Now I'm a big fan of Cliff Edwards. His music is brilliant, but most people have forgotten him. I just think he was known as a singer and played the ukulele. He had a wonderful voice right now. I think his voice was also used in one of the other Disney movies that I can not remember. But his singing was just right. I think that's Pinocchio .
I saw Pinocchio maybe 20 years ago, and what amazes me is how, as a child, I remembered this huge universe, this huge world. In fact, it is tiny. You walk from Geppetto's workshop and the small village to Bad Boys Island. Bing It's so tight that they do it. The next, you are in Monstro's belly. It's great just to see how close you can be and still create a universe. This is a lesson I have never learned, the scarce part.
I'm just trying to make one that really stays with me. Paths of Fame . I was probably 13 or 14 years old, and it was a Saturday matinee at the local cinema. All children were released by their parents to clear them on Saturday afternoons. I sat there and this black and white thing came up. I was thrilled, because it was the first movie that really appreciated the injustice in the world that awaits us all, and only the tracking shots through the trenches. My version in Brazil in Clark's pool revolved exclusively around the footage of Paths of Glory .
I remember going to school on Monday and telling everyone, "You have to watch this movie. "No one did it because it was too serious. Normally, everybody would normally see Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis movies, which I loved too. This is the Pratfallseite my nature.
Probably somewhere there Citizen Kane raised his head. As soon as you see that, you either want to be a movie director or just give up one of them. He got it right. He did everything right. If you think he was only 25 years old? Extraordinary I think that was when I was obsessed with wide-angle and deep-focus. That was a new world for me. It's probably these two films that and Paths of Glory have really urged me to tell stories in the movie because they had such an impact on my life.
The next, I think, we got to go to Bergman. We go to Seventh Seal . The seventh seal killed me. On many levels it is such a simple movie. You have Mary and Joseph, the young people with their little traveling theater, and then you have the knight. I think it was the way he dealt with the Middle Ages and fascinated me with death there when he played chess. These were pictures that just stuck in my head.
It was funny. When I did Parnassus I went back and looked at it, trying to remember what Mary and Joseph and their little traveling theater were like. I had forgotten so many details. It was just a really important movie, and Max von Sydow was something … The first time I basically saw a non-American actor at work. He looked different. He behaved differently. You know, I grew up with Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Doris Day and Rock Hudson – shiny teeth and beautifully combed hair and all the nonsense. There was something profound in this film without pointing anything at all. It just did it. The squire – that was Gunnar Björnstrand, I think – was just a great figure, the cynic in the midst of all this. I remember talking to him when he was in this church, and all the frescoes are there, and it's just profound filmmaking.
I think I probably have to go from Seventh Seal to Seven Samurai . Kurosawa used the tracking shots, the way in which he … the energy, only the kinetic energy on the screen was amazing, especially in Japanese drama, which is very structured and very formalized, which then erupts and you somebody in the Bring faltering half. This is pure filmmaking. I just thought, "It's just beautiful." Yet another movie that's about texture, and it's a very different texture than growing up in America. That started my love affair with the Japanese things.
Then we jump to 8 1/2 . Boom.
Klassik nach Klassik hier …
I steal only the best. Laughs ] There is Fellini, with a whole new world, a whole new way of using the camera, and people suddenly look into the lens and smile, as if the camera is another character in the piece of these Faces, the worlds he created. It was the first movie I saw: "Such is the life of a director." I know that Truffaut later did his day after night which was a very sweet movie, but he did not capture that Pressure steering has. I suddenly had the feeling that film directing is what's going on in this movie. It has always stayed with me and has proven to be true.
It's as if Marcello were going down the corridors to do his silly little dances, anything to avoid those people who want something from him. That's what film directing is all about. For anyone who wants to make a movie, he has to watch this movie again and again. The last shot, as he is towed to the incomplete set that he could never afford in reality – he is supported by some of his helpers, then he frees himself and attacks him again. He is forced to finish his film. It was this beautiful, circular dance that continued with the little boy in his white outfit who was in charge of everything. I can only say that it is a great filmmaking.
RT: This movie is widely known as one of the projects that most people thought would never be completed. How does it feel, now that it's finally done?
Gilliam: Well, it's not my life. I got rid of it. It was like a disease. That's what it feels like. I am relieved that I like the movie. That pleases me. It's nice that a few other people or maybe many people – it depends – as well, because the terrible thing about carrying it around for so long was the growing fear that whatever I did would disappoint people if If they had been waiting 20 years, their imagination will have plenty of time to grow. I only knew that I would disappoint a lot of people. That was awful. Luckily, I read a few reviews where I was right. Disappointed laugh ]
That's just scam. I think the people who saw the movie should forget that it took 30 years, because it's just a movie that I finally got out of it. The film, the finished film, is the result of a series of years of work, and that's it. Anything that goes before is somehow meaningless, to be completely honest. When you finally get the money, you can go ahead and shoot it, and then you'll survive shooting almost the entire movie without nature destroying you. It is what it is.
For me, Quixote was never an idea, a script I had 30 years ago to hold on to. It has grown and changed constantly and is dependent on the circumstances and the people involved. That's what filmmaking is about. I am in no way something puristic. It's just something I've done in the last few years, and I'm really happy with it.
RT: Despite the hardships you had to endure, you were so excited that you finally got the hang of it. Am I completely crazy about this?
Gilliam: Ganz. laughs ] The first few weeks were terrible, because this expectancy made me heavy. It was really limited, which I did. I really had trouble deciding that, that or the other. Fortunately, after a few weeks, you are in the rhythm of things. You are dealing with a catastrophe that took place ten minutes ago, so forget about that, but I only knew it would disappoint a lot of people. Whatever they thought, it would not be that way. It is what it is, it is all that it is.
All I know is, I think we got some script that we had a long time ago. We had the best cast you can imagine. It was the thing that actually carried me through the shoot, that whatever I felt was my failure, I just felt that the cast is so brilliant that whatever happens will thrill the audience. I still feel that. I think Adam and Jonathan are spectacular and Stella and Olga as well as Joanna and Jordi Mollà – each of them is Cracker. It's just great.
RT: I have to imagine that part of you had to ask yourself throughout the process: "OK, what's going to go wrong this time? When will it all fall apart?
Gilliam: That's the constant fear, because I know I'm getting away with the murder. "How long can I still do that?" Actually, here's the funny thing. The weather was good for us because we were outside. We were exposed the whole time. We did not have the weather most of the time. We were on the edge all the time, and the weather continued until we got there, the biggest scene in the whole thing that ended up burning Santa Cathartica, and the castle with all these extras – there was 350, everything in costume – I mean, the most expensive part of the movie, and of course it rained that night. laughs ] We had to postpone, and we lost a day. But I thought, "Nature has a sense of humor, that's all I know." It sucked me in and thought it was okay. "Wait until you get the hardest and most expensive part, and now how are you, Gilliam."
RT: When did you first realize that this movie became your personal windmill giant?
Gilliam: I do not know. It must have been after 2000 when everything collapsed. I went away and did something else, and then it was more about the fact that Quixote would not leave me (19459007). It was like pausing every time I finished another movie, and then that old fart waving and saying, "Come on. Let's get to work. "That's how it happened. At a certain point, you've spent so many years, and you just feel like you need to finish it. Fortunately, I had Orson Welles as my competitor and thought, "He could not finish his, and I'll finish mine." Laughs ] I had to be better than him in one thing. Maybe my movie was as good as it should be, but it does not matter. I hit him in one thing.
No, that's a very funny thing. Tony Grisoni, we talked about it because we knew that the comparison between Gilliam and Quixote would go on and on. He said, "Really?" His feeling is the film is Quixote; Gilliam is Sancho Panza. I'm the guy who kept eating to somehow keep the madness alive. I tend to think that's it, because by the time we do it, I'm no longer a dreamer at all. I do not dream of anything. I'm only concerned with reality, and that has been the case over the last ten years. That's it.
RT: I think it's probably easy for anyone familiar with your work to understand why you were attracted to the story of Don Quixote, but I understand that you've read the novel, I think. Sometime around 1989 and immediately wanted to make a movie out of it. If that's true, what was it about the book that spoke so powerfully to you that you just had an intense need to adapt it?
Gilliam: It was actually a bit backward. I think I finished Münchhausen and what will I do next? Quixote has always been in the spirit of the times – there is Quixote, one of the big icons, and I've always been part of crazies and fantasies. I literally called Jake Edwards, the executive producer of Munchausen and said, "Jake, I've found two names for you. One is Gilliam and the other is Quixote. I need 20 million dollars. He says, "You have it. I had the guarantee of $ 20 million before I read the book.
Then I sat down and read it, and a few weeks later I realized, "What the hell have I done? I do not know how to start here because it's such a huge job. "But I started working with Charles McKeown, who had written Munchausen with us, and we started it It was a very different idea at the time, basically about several old men sitting in a square in a small village in Spain, and all they said to each other, "If only I had done this that just would not have done. "It was the" if only "story, and one of them says," I've had enough of it, I'm going to die soon, so before I die, I'll go and do anything, "if only "so we just throw the" if "out of the equation." So we started writing it. It started there.
But then I realized that the problem would be, how can you convince a modern audience that a seventeenth-century type is totally thrilled with 12th-century stories? Due to their historical costumes, a modern crowd could not distinguish between the two. This then led to the next step: we have a modern man who becomes Sancho Panza, the man with whom we can all identify and who brings us through. Then I went to Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court . End of the story, bang on the head, you end up in the 17th century. There we were with the Johnny Depp / Jean Rochefort version. I do not know how many years ago we made the leap to modernization, because that would be cheaper. Airplanes could fly over and would not track down the movie for us. laughs ]
Then we had this idea as it was before he became cynical, corrupt commercial when he was young and innocent, and made a movie as We Are in the movie. This seems to be a much more interesting approach to him, and then the character of Toby became more guilty because he created this monster in Quixote and they are therefore trapped together. That helped. All of these things started to develop.
It has always been just a balance game, trying to keep it fresh and staying true to the heart of the book, the essence of the book. We picked out pieces from the original stories that we liked, and we did not use them. We never had to be pedantic about it. It has freed us because you always spend your time escaping these great authors, whether it's Hunter Thompson or Cervantes. It was all step by step. It makes sense to look back. At this time, we just tried to keep it fresh in our own minds and solve enough problems.
RT: You said that the narrative has changed over the years, it's about the way movies are made, can hurt people, and I'm wondering if that was directly influenced by that, what you went through and tried to make the movie.
Gilliam: No, that was not it. What it was about were our experiences when the Holy Grail was made in Scotland. Because we came to Scotland, and we worked in that little village called Doune, where they had a castle. We really attacked the lives of many people because girls traced the crew back to London, marriages were dissolved, and all sorts of things happened when a film crew came to a small village. So that was in my mind, not necessarily my own experiences.
It was also another idea of films that movies replace the books that Quixote read, which dealt with knights and exploits and girls and blah. blah, blah. That's what films are doing now. I do not know how X-Men or Avengers affect the lives of young people. Do you believe something about it? Do you want to be like that? I dont know.
RT: This is not the only movie project that had problems during the development process. What made you decide to stay more than anyone else?
Gilliam: Well, it was probably Orson Welles again. It's the idea that even Orson Welles can not finish his. Laughs ] But I feel a bit more responsible when I take a great book written by someone else, and I feel, "Is there any way to bring this back to life for a modern audience? "I want to encourage people to read. When I think of Munchausen it was the book. Fear and Disgust It was the book. It really is what makes me very happy to accept something that I consider important to make a movie about it, and maybe some people will come back to look at the original material to see what it does to them.  RT: The man who killed Don Quixote has a special meaning for you?
Gilliam: I do not think so, no. Well, since I've managed to do it, that seems enough. It is too close to me, because the last movie is always your favorite movie. It always works like that for me and I can not wait to see it in the cinemas to see what I really think about it. But that's really it. I do not watch my movies because I really want to get to the point where I forgot what they are or what happens, so I can be like a normal audience and judge you as someone who knows nothing. I am waiting for this moment on Quijote . I'm still too busy. My problem with Quijote is that I've become to that character in the scene where Jonathan stands with the dirty sheet behind the truck and the movie plays again and again and obviously has to retell the story. That's what I became. You have to be very careful about what you write.
The man who killed Don Quixote opened on April 10 for a one-night Fathom event.